Lying to Children: Will You Lie To Your Child?
Will there be a need for me to tell a lie to my children? Isn’t it wrong? What could be possible consequences if I lie to them? Is it going to be a big deal or it doesn’t really matter because the kids won’t mind? These questions came to mind and I thought of getting some answers from other parents. Will you lie to your children? Here’s what I discovered from their answers.
I asked myself this question after I read the conclusion of a research study: Parents lie to their children. Will there be a need for me to tell a lie to my children? Isn’t it wrong? What could be possible consequences if I lie to them? Is it going to be a big deal or does it really matter if the kids don't mind? These questions came to mind and I thought of getting some answers from other parents. Will you lie to your children? Here’s what I discovered from their answers.
Parents’ Reasons for Lying
Many parents including my spouse said yes to this question. Parents tell a lie particularly a “white lie” to their children because of many reasons. One primary reason is to protect the child from getting emotionally hurt from the truth she might know. For instance, I met a parent who has a six-year-old adopted daughter. She narrated the story about why and how she adopted the child. She also shared with me the story she told her daughter - about how she got pregnant and gave birth to her. She and her spouse made her daughter believe that she is really their own child because her family doesn’t want her to be hurt by the truth that she is adopted. Though she admits she will tell her the truth when she is old enough to understand.
Another reason is that the child may not yet be ready to understand or to process the truth. This means, parents should take into consideration the maturity and readiness of the child to understand fully the truth so that the child’s self-esteem may not be threatened. Thus sometimes, parents will not be totally honest by keeping some of the truth.
There are cases when parents would only want their children to behave, to be careful or to be cautious so they tell them that something bad will happen or a monster will come out of the dark. This is done so that kids may avoid meeting any untoward incidents. One more reason could be that the parent cannot directly say no to the child for something he or she is asking for. So, just to stop the child from asking, a parent may tell a lie to scare the child from wanting it.
It may be justifiable to tell a white lie to a child yet it should only be done with the intention of protecting the child from harm or danger. A parent should only lie when the kid is not prepared for the truth because he or she is not yet emotionally and psychologically mature. In short, the parent will just keep the truth for the time being but is not exactly lying.
Consequences for Lying
Aside from the aforementioned conditions, parents should not tell lies to their children. But what if a parent often tells lies? For instance, when the father promises to his child that he will be there for a family occasion yet does not show up because of his busy work. And this happens not only once but many times. What happens then? This could present possible consequences for the parents.
First, children might find it hard to trust what you say again especially when they find out that you have been lying to them about things. It takes time to build trust and your child might no longer be trusting if this is what he or she sees in you. Second, children might think that lying is ok and they will end up lying to you and to others as well. This could propagate a society of dishonest citizens in the future. Third, children might not learn exactly the reason why some things are to be done the way parents instruct them. Lastly, if you tell one lie, you might need to cover it up with another lie and you’ll end up lying most of the time.
Alternatives for Lying
Based on the consequences, parents should by all means avoid lying to their children. So what should a parent do so as not to tell a lie? If the child is emotionally and psychologically mature by then, explain the truth. Do not underestimate the depth of a child’s comprehension. You might be amazed at how they can easily understand things. Furthermore, you can get the child interested in some other things. In other words, divert your child’s attention.
Knowing these things, I can conclude that parents should only lie if it is for benefit of the child. If the child is ready, then the truth should be revealed to him or her. Aside from this, lying is not an option. How about you? Will you lie to your child?